Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Can Ibs Cause Flat Stools

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How To Treat Thin Poop

Do I have IBS ? | Symptoms & Diagnosis | Irritable Bowel Syndrome

If diarrhea is the culprit, the remedy here is to address the underlying cause of the rapidly moving stool: Make sure to stay hydrated, and wait it out.

If the loose stool persists for longer than two or three days, that would be a reason to visit your doctor.

If your poop is thin or stringy because you’re constipated, that’s pretty easily addressed. Try taking a probiotic supplement to aid digestion.*

You can also help keep things moving by increasing your intake of water and upping the fiber in your diet with veggies, seeds, grains, and fruits. Thin poop that occurs infrequently isn’t something to worry about.

Appearance Of Skinny Bowel Movements From Colon Cancer Vs Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Dr. Sanagapalli explains, Based on the appearance of the stool alone, one cannot differentiate between a benign cause such as IBS and a concerning cause such as bowel cancer.

The stools from either condition will look the same as they are voided and also as they end up in the toilet bowl.

Further, IBS is a far more common condition than colorectal cancer, continues Dr. Sanagapalli.

What Is Colon Cancer What Does It Look Like

Cancer is the transformation of normal cells. These transformed cells grow and multiply abnormally. Cancers are dangerous because of their uncontrolled growth and potential for spread. Cancer overwhelms healthy cells, tissues, and organs by taking their oxygen, nutrients, and space.

In colon cancer, these abnormal cells grow and eventually spread through the colon wall to involve the adjacent lymph nodes and organs. Ultimately, they spread to distant organs such as the liver, lungs, brain, and bones.

Most colon cancers are adenocarcinoma tumors that develop from the glands lining the colon’s inner wall. These cancers, or malignant tumors, sometimes are referred to as colorectal cancer, reflecting the fact that the rectum, the end portion of the colon, also can be affected. Anatomic differences in the rectum as compared to the rest of the colon require that doctors separately recognize these areas.

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Why Does Ibs Cause Thin Flat Stools

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What Should You Do

Diagnose: Diagnosing Ibs

The decision to investigate further is based on any concurrent symptoms and the patient demographic.

For example, in a young woman who describes changed appearance of the stool but no bleeding, weight loss, anemia or abnormal findings on examination, then the diagnosis is likely to be IBS.

However, in an older male who describes such a change in his stool appearance along with rectal bleeding or other concerning features such as anemia or weight loss, there would be much higher concern for colorectal cancer.

The symptom therefore requires careful evaluation by a gastroenterologist to decide on the likely diagnosis and need for further investigation.

Further investigation would likely mean a colonoscopy.

Dr. Sanagapalliis a gastroenterologist and director of the Esophageal Disorders Center at St Vincents Hospital, Darlinghurst. He performs diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures, and enjoys providing comprehensive and holistic care to patients with a wide variety of disorders affecting the gastrointestinal tract.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. Shes also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.

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Association Of Ibs Symptoms With Ibs Subtypes

Table 5 compares IBS subtypes with respect to the average severity of abdominal pain, bloating, dissatisfaction with bowel habits, and interference with life activities across all days. For all 4 symptoms IBS-C patients reported significantly more symptom severity than IBS-D patients. This is contrary to what one might expect because loose/watery BMs were more frequently associated with pain and other symptoms than hard/lumpy stools . It suggests the hypothesis that symptom distress in IBS-C patients is unrelated to the occurrence of a BM. To test this hypothesis, we compared the IBS subtypes with respect to the severity of their IBS symptoms on days when they did not have BMs. Figure 2 supports this post hoc hypothesis by showing that all 4 symptoms were more severe in IBS-C patients compared to IBS-D patients on days when no BMs occurred.

Symptom severity in different IBS subtypes on days with no bowel movements. Brackets show comparisons that are significant at p< .05.

False Sense Of Security

Dr. Weiss explains, The presence of known prolapsed hemorrhoids may give the false sense of assurance that the cause is benign.

While going to the doctor for an anorectal examination or procedure is not a favorite activity, delaying and suffering the consequences of advanced cancer is a tragedy that could and should be avoided.

The American Cancer Society had a pointed message about screening and examinations for colorectal cancer: Dont die of embarrassment!

Dr. Weiss is the author of Got Guts! A Guide to Prevent and Beat Colon Cancer. He has also presented numerous presentations on various health topics.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. Shes also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.

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Narrow Stools: Causes Symptoms And Treatments

Narrow stools occur due to changes in bowel movements. They can be harmless, occurring as a result of a low fiber diet or temporary infection. However, narrow or pencil-thin stools may also indicate an underlying condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome or colorectal cancer. If narrow stools occur infrequently, they are typically not a cause for concern. If they persist for more than a week, however, this could be a sign of a medical condition.

You may also experience other symptoms alongside narrow stools. These symptoms can include diarrhea, constipation, blood in the stool, or changes in stool color.

Read on to find out what causes narrow stools, as well as information about related symptoms and when to see a doctor.

Colon Cancer Can Cause Pencil Shaped Stools So Can Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome | IBS

And therein lies the problem when you see skinny poops coming out of you that resemble a pencil shape or how toothpaste looks like coming out of the tube.

Lets take a closer look at how pencil shaped stools from irritable bowel syndrome might appear different from flattened narrow bowel movements caused by colon cancer.

The occasional narrow stool is not of major concern, begins Santosh Sanagapalli, MD, a consultant gastroenterologist, endoscopist and colonoscopist.

However, a persistent narrowed stool, for example of pencil thickness, can sometimes occur due to narrowing or obstruction of the colon from a colon cancer.

The problem is that changes in the stool form or shape can also be a common feature of irritable bowel syndrome.

This is caused by colon contractions or spasms.

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Relationship Between Symptoms And Stool Consistency

We found that loose/watery bowel movements were more likely than hard/lumpy stools or normal stools to be associated with abdominal pain, urgency, and fecal soiling and that patients reported more abdominal pain, bloating, dissatisfaction with bowel habits and interference with activities of daily life on days when they experienced loose/watery stools as compared to days on which they experienced hard/lumpy stools or stools of normal consistency . This agrees with previous reports9.

However, we found that the amount of symptoms associated with individual bowel movements is not a good predictor of the overall symptom burden of IBS in general. When all days are averaged together, patients with IBS-C have significantly worse abdominal pain, bloating, dissatisfaction with bowel habits, and interference with life activities than patients with IBS-D . This suggests that in IBS-D bowel symptoms are triggered by defecation of loose/watery BMs whereas in IBS-C, these symptoms are temporally uncorrelated with defecation and are instead probably related to the chronic distention of the bowel with stool. This interpretation is supported by two post-hoc analyses: When IBS-C patients were compared to IBS-D patients on days when no BMs were reported, IBS-C patients had worse symptoms on those days than patients with IBS-D . Moreover, daily ratings of pain and bloating become progressively more severe with the cumulative number of days IBS-C patients have gone without a BM.

Effects Of Cumulative Days Without A Bowel Movement On Ibs Symptoms In Patients With Ibs

The observation that on days with no BMs, IBS-C patients have worse symptoms than IBS-D or IBS-M patients suggests that, in IBS-C, symptoms may result from the cumulative distention of the bowel with stool. To test this hypothesis, we performed another post-hoc test to determine whether the severity of pain and bloating increased with the cumulative number of days without a BM in patients with IBS-C. The data support this hypothesis: Average daily pain ratings were 4.1 after one day without a BM, 5.0 after 2 days with no BM, 5.7 after 3 days, 7.5 after 4 days, and 7.2 after 5 days. Day 1 pain ratings were significantly different from Day 4 and Day 5 by paired t-tests . Similarly, average daily bloating ratings were 4.5 on the first day without a BM, 5.6 after 2 days, 5.9 after 3 days, 6.4 after 4 days, and 6.3 after 5 days. Paired t-tests showed that Day 1 bloating ratings were significantly different from Day 5 . The number of IBS-C patients available for analysis was 16 for Day 2, 12 for Day 3, 6 for Day 4, and 3 for Day 5.

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Differences Between Retrospective Ibs Symptom Severity Scores And Diary Based Symptom Severity Scores

Analysis of the diary data showed that the IBS symptoms that make up the IBS Severity Scale differ significantly between the IBS subtypes, whereas at enrollment when subjects completed the IBS-SS retrospectively, no such differences between subtypes were found. To understand this discrepancy a post-hoc analysis was performed. When IBS-SS scores were computed based on diary responses and compared for the first and second month of diary days, the correlation between Month 1 and Month 2 was r=0.871 . The correlation between scores on the baseline retrospective IBS-SS questionnaire and the diary based IBS-SS scores, on the other hand, were lower at r=0.618 for Month 1 and r=0.524 for Month 2.

When Is Thin Poop A Cause For Concern

    flat stool

But what if your poop has been thin or stringy for a few weeks? That’s a situation in which it’s a good idea to see a doctor since it could be a uterine fibroid that has grown large enough to press on the outside of the colon and become a restriction on the colon from the outside.

Other causes of thin stool can be intestinal scarring that’s a result of abdominal surgery .

You can also have thin stools when the colon is over-distended. In this case, there is stool that is basically blocking the colon, and thin, less compacted bands of stool are able to pass around the blockage.

This is another reason to seek medical advice from your physician, since it is an extreme case of constipation and often needs assistance from a medical provider to resolve.

In some cases, stringy poop may be caused by a parasite or other infection, in which case you may need medication from your doctor to remedy the problem.

While thin poop is likely not colorectal or colon cancer1, if your symptoms are ongoing, you may want to speak to your doctor to check.

Additional warning signs for cancer can include blood in the stool, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain that is focused on the left , and unexplained anemia.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The main symptoms of IBS are belly pain with constipation or diarrhea. IBS is quite common, but most people’s symptoms are so mild that they never see a doctor for treatment. Some people may have troublesome symptoms. Symptoms of IBS include:

  • Changes in bowel movement patterns.
  • Bloating and excess gas.
  • Pain the lower belly.
  • Mucus in stools.

You are more likely to have IBS if you have these symptoms and they have lasted at least 6 months, you have had belly pain at least 3 days each month for at least 3 months, and at least two of the following are true:

  • The pain is relieved by having a bowel movement.
  • The pain is linked to a change in how often you have a bowel movement.
  • The pain is linked to a change in the look or texture of your stool.

Because there are no structural problems in the intestines of people who have IBS, some people may think this means that the symptoms “are all in their head.” This isn’t true. The pain, discomfort, and bloating are real.

Bowel movement patterns

When you have IBS, your pattern of bowel movements may be different over time. Two or more of the following may happen:

Many people with IBS go back and forth between having constipation and having diarrhea.

Other intestinal symptoms

Some people may have pain in the lower belly with constipation that is sometimes followed by diarrhea. Other people have pain and mild constipation but no diarrhea.

Some people have intestinal gas, and they pass mucus in their stools.

Is It Normal To Have Thin Stools 4 Possible Explanations

While finishing your business in the bathroom, you might look at your stool just to make sure everything is okay. While observing stool if you notice that your stool is pencil-thin over a length of time, it might be a sign of a health condition that could be a cause for concern. Here are 4 possible explanations for your thin stools.


While everyone might struggle with staying regular from time to time, it becomes constipation when your bowel movements drop to less than three times a week. While thin stools are not always a sign of constipation, they can be if your stools do not always look that way. Constipation usually occurs due to a lack of fiber and exercise. Other signs that it might be constipation is if your poop becomes hard to pass, hard and dry.

Having thin stools for a period of time is nothing to worry about, though it might require some lifestyle changes. However if looks this way all the time and begins to narrow over time, you should let your doctor know.

Colorectal Cancer

It used to be that doctors believed that pencil-thin stools were a sign of colorectal cancer, indicating that some sort of growth was creating a blockage, narrowing the space for stool to pass through.

However, years of research have concluded that stools narrowing over time is usually the sign of a far less serious medical condition.

That being said if your stool narrowing coincides with symptoms such as:

  • Blood in your stool
  • Strange rectal discharge

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Ibs Treatment & Management

If you have IBS, your Advocate Health team will help you find the right treatment plan, which may include changes to your diet, dietary supplements or mental health therapies to help you manage stress. Their overall focus will be to treat symptoms and help improve your quality of life. You may have to try a few treatments to see what works best for you.

IBS treatments might include:

  • IBS-specific medication for severe cases that arent relieved by other treatments

What Is Current Knowledge

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Causes, Symptoms, Bristol Stool Chart, Types and Treatment
  • IBS patients are sub-classified based on the average frequency of loose or watery stools and the average frequency of hard or lumpy stools.
  • Classification by predominant stool consistency is critical to management because current IBS drugs were designed to treat either constipation or diarrhea, and there is a risk of adverse events if they are given to patients with the wrong stool consistency.
  • Reports are inconsistent on the relationship between stool consistency and abdominal pain.

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What Causes Thin Poop

An isolated pencil thin stool or stringy poop can be nothing to worry about.

Sometimes it’s associated with diarrhea that is from either an infectious cause or a medical one, such as irritable bowel syndrome , Crohn’s, or ulcerative colitis, and can be thin because the stool hasn’t spent enough time in the colon to bulk itself up.

Other times, thin poop occurs because you’re actually constipated and there isn’t enough fiber and water to bulk up the stool.

Flat Ribbon Stool Causes

Plenty of people have likely experienced flat ribbon stools once or even a few times during their lifetime. Given they are so unusual-looking and rather striking in appearance compared to how normal bowel movements look, they no doubt draw attention and make us wonder why theyve occurred.

Believe it or not, not all flat stools are caused by cancer. Because thats the first thought they evoke in the average persons mind. Keeping an eye on the situation to see if its a one-time thing or occurs repeatedly, observing if there are any other symptoms as well as seeing a doctor for advice, tests or answers are the top three things to do if you ever pass this type of bowel movement.

Next up, find out what having a flat ribbon poop means.

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What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS is a mix of belly discomfort or pain and trouble with bowel habits: either going more or less often than normal or having a different kind of stool . Doctors used to call IBS other names including:

There are four types of the condition:

  • IBS with constipation
  • Mixed IBS alternates between constipation and diarrhea
  • Unsubtyped IBS for people who don’t fit into the above types

IBS isnât life-threatening, and it doesn’t make you more likely to get other colon conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or colon cancer. But it can be a long-lasting problem that changes how you live your life. People with IBS may miss work or school more often, and they may feel less able to take part in daily activities. Some people may need to change their work setting: shifting to working at home, changing hours, or even not working at all.

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